Nearly one-third of U.S. teenage drivers report texting while driving
SAN DIEGO —Although texting while driving has decreased since state laws have banned it, approximately one-third of teenage drivers report texting while driving, according to data presented here.
Alexis Tchaconas, a research assistant at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, and colleagues assessed data from the 2011 and 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Surveys to determine if state laws banning texting while driving affected youth behaviors. Analysis included responses from 1,566 adolescents in 2011 and 1,353 in 2013.
Between 2011 and 2013, 14 U.S. states passed laws banning texting while driving.
Prior to implementation of state laws in 2011, 43.1% of teenage drivers reported texting while driving. This rate decreased to 30.6% in 2013, after state legislation had been implemented (P = .0001).
Researchers found no significant differences in texting while driving rates when comparing states that recently implemented texting while driving laws and states that had banned the practice for at least 5 years (95% CI, 0.725-1.778).
Conversely, texting while driving rates were higher among teenage drivers in states with no bans vs. states with new bans (OR = 1.818; 95% CI, 1.288-2.567), according to analysis of data for 2013.
Tchaconas and colleagues conducted a second analysis using the same data set to assess associations between texting while driving and driver age and experience.
Adolescents were considered “experienced” drivers if they were aged at least one year older than the age of initial driver license eligibility in their state. Drivers who were one year younger than the designated age were considered “new” drivers.
Overall, 40.18% of experienced drivers reported texting while driving vs. 8.75% of new drivers, indicating experienced teenage drivers were 4.58 times more likely to text while driving.
When adjusting for sex and race/ethnicity, drivers aged 16 years were more likely to text while driving compared with drivers aged 15 years (adjusted OR = 2.279; 95% CI, 1.457-3.566).
“Despite public health campaigns and laws banning texting while driving in most states, texting while driving was four times more common among U.S. high school students than driving while under the influence of alcohol (41.4% vs. 10%),” Tchaconas said in a press release. “Although laws that ban texting while driving appear somewhat effective in reducing this dangerous behavior by teen drivers, much more needs to be done to effectively eliminate this major distraction.” – by Amanda Oldt
Tchaconas A, et al. Abstract #1533.251. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies 2015; April 25-28, 2015; San Diego.
Tchaconas A, et al. Abstract #2795.8. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies 2015; April 25-28, 2015; San Diego.
Disclosures: Infectious Diseases in Children was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.